Contrary to the general assumption that Igbos did not vote for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, in Saturday’s presidential election, the Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima on Wednesday, said the contributions of the people of South-Eastern Nigerian was as impressive as other parts of the country.
Shettima made this known in Maiduguri, the Borno capital on Wednesday while addressing supporters after his return from Abuja, where he went on Tuesday night to join other leaders of the APC ahead of Buhari’s declaration as President-elect.
According to him, the Igbo were the silent forces behind the victory of the president-elect, explaining that the leaders of the APC in the South-East mounted a strong opposition against the PDP from producing “outrageous votes” from the South-East as was the case in 2011.
He further noted that it was such strong opposition mounted against the PDP that enabled votes garnered by Buhari in other geopolitical zones to ensure that the APC candidate emerged victorious.
Shettima explained that Buhari’s victory was not a product of just votes from the four geopolitical zones of the North-East, North-West, North-Central and South-West, adding that “Buhari’s election was a pan-Nigerian movement”.
He continued: “I have heard some political analysts making some wrong conclusions that the Ibos in the South-East didn’t contribute significantly to Buhari’s victory; but I think they are missing the point because there are two key contributions to winning elections.
“One is to give votes and the other is to prevent opponent from rigging and both have equal relevance. In the 2011 elections, the PDP got a combined figure of about seven million votes in the South-East. Some of these states recorded or so they claimed, having almost 100 per cent voter turnout.
“But in 2015, Ibos in the South-East, especially our leaders in the APC, stood very firm, some of them put their lives on the line, resisted all kinds of humiliation and at the end, they prevented another seven million votes from coming out.
“In Ebonyi, the PDP got less than 300,000 votes; in Abia, the PDP got less than 400,000; even in Enugu, the PDP got about 600,000 votes; in Imo also, the PDP got less than 600,000. All these were against the big numbers of 2011.
“We all saw what happened in Rivers. If that was repeated in the South-East, it would have been a major source of concern for all Nigerians, but the Ibos did very well by resisting every step against Buhari. So, they are heroes as far as I am concerned”.